N Charles Street & St Paul Street & Bedford Place (Street View)
GPS: 39° 20′ 36.56″ N 76° 37′ 17.90″ W
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) is sometimes referred to as the “George Washington of South America.” This bust, by artist Felix de Weldon, was a gift from the government of Venezuela to the City of Baltimore and was dedicated on April 19, 1961. Felix de Weldon is also the sculptor of the famous Marine Corp Memorial, which depicts a determined group of soldiers raising the American flag over Iwo Jima.
According to Baltimore’s City Paper, “Duplicate busts were given to the municipalities of Bolivar, W. Va., Bolivar, Mo., and New Orleans.” Known as a El Libertador – “The Liberator,” Bolivar was inspired by the American Revolution to throw off Spanish rule in South America. He fought in or organized revolutionary actions for close to two decades, resulting in the formation of the nation of Gran Colombia. It’s area encompassed present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama along with small parts of Peru, Brazil, and Guyana. Around the neck of the Bolivar bust is a medallion with a portrait of George Washington.
The location of this monument compared to most others in the city is a bit far-of-field. Travel north until Charles Street and St. Paul Street merge into one in the neighborhood of Guilford.
There is what might be considered a brother-statue to Bolivar down towards Fells Point of Jose Marti, a Cuban revolutionary hero. Bolivar’s influence on South American politics is felt even today, thanks to a political philosophy referred to in English as Bolivarianism, and the subsequent Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela’s leader, Hugo Chavez. The movement is typified by a strong emphasis on Venezuelan sovereignty, self-sufficiency, equity and patriotic service.